The weather for the past few weeks has been a real roller-coaster ride. Just when I thought that we were going to be seeing an early spring, with temperatures reaching into the high 70s in March, things have gone in the opposite direction to a more seasonable 40 to 50 degree range since last Friday. These wild temperature swings are quite worrisome for those of us who keep up with local farmers and food producers. A sudden frost between now and the end of April might result in disaster, although perhaps not on the scale of the havoc wrought last August by Hurricane Irene.
The tail end of winter oftentimes feels like “the season that time forgot”. This is a threshold moment, where there are signs of a progressive transition from one season to the next evident at our farmers’ markets that are not yet fully matched by what’s happening with the weather. The urge to switch from hearty soups and stews to lighter fare is pronounced, especially when one has subsisted on cabbage, mushrooms and assorted root vegetables and tubers for the past three months.
In memory of the spring that arose earlier this month, I offer the following for your contemplation:
1 Cara Cara orange, peeled and trimmed of its pith, then cut into sections
2 tablespoons Cara Cara orange juice (1)
1/4 cup pitted green olives
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
5 shallots, peeled and trimmed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped green garlic
(1) — Substitute blood oranges or regular navel oranges if unavailable.
Place orange sections in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine olives, Cara Cara orange juice, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap. Let olives marinate in the refrigerator for two hours or preferably overnight. Olives can be prepared a day ahead.
Place shallots in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, a small pinch of salt and the sherry vinegar. Mix well, then spoon onto a roasting pan or glass Pyrex baking dish. Roast at 350 F for 20 minutes or until shallots have become meltingly tender and soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
To assemble: Add olives, shallots and green garlic to the bowl containing the orange sections. Stir once or twice. Spoon salad onto individual salad plates, then serve at once.
Time: About 30 minutes. Time includes prep for the shallots but not the time preparing the olives.